WeatherBug rolls 'on demand' ads

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WeatherBug unveiled an online ad model that hands users control over what advertising appears when they log on to the service.

While people have no control over the local weather reports that WeatherBug provides, they can change the advertising that appears around it. The company calls it an "on-demand" ad model. Consumers who visit the site can opt to download WeatherBug 5.0, which then appears as an icon on their desktop. This allows consumers to then alter the ads as frequently as they wish.

Gary Stein, marketing and advertising analyst at Jupiter Research, said: "WeatherBug is outside-of-the-browser Internet advertising and it's really exciting. As far as I know they're the only ones doing it." He added that WeatherBug's pay-for-performance ad model was also a bonus, as the company only charges advertisers if consumers choose to view their ads. If consumers want an ad-free version, they can pay a monthly fee of $19.95 instead.

So far companies such as AOL Time Warner's America Online, AstraZeneca's Nexium, Meredith Corp.'s Better Homes & Gardens and Gannett Co.'s USA Today have partnered with WeatherBug, which has around 17 million users.

Andy Jedynak, WeatherBug's senior VP-general manager, said: "The value proposition is that WeatherBug provides advertising that the user is interested in. We can send them sponsored welcome emails or other e-mail tips. Our research shows that 65% of our users liked to take control of the sponsor."

The company launched the idea of choosing a sponsor last year. But new technology in WeatherBug 5.0, unveiled today, allows consumers to change the advertiser at will. The company is a division of AWS Convergence Technologies.

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